else did you do while in Gambia?
The local people were so very friendly and welcoming, there were always
lots of children and some adults around the accommodation. We received
many invitations to visit family compounds both as a whole team and as
smaller groups and we were often offered food which we knew they could
ill afford. Although
some of these homes had furniture there were others with just the odd
chair and a few boxes.
the local school
the village school and found it almost completely lacking in equipment.
The “resources centre” contained some broken desks and the
library had no books because the termites had damaged their small stock
Before the project, thanks to the generosity of the Jersey public, we
had raised just over £11,000 and we spent about £500 while
we were there on books and sports equipment for the school. Before leaving
we took this down to the school and presented it too them.
After a spirited
rendering of the Gambian National Anthem by the children the Headmaster
thanked us for our kindness and generosity and told us that it would have
taken them 20 years to save up for what we had given them that afternoon.
you go anywhere else?
we also visited the Nursery and the Clinic, both operated by an American
Charity (C.C.F.or Childrens Christian Fellowship). The Nursery was having
new premises built and they would then be given new equipment and while
we were there some of the helpers went on a course to show them how to
make educational toys out of scrap materials.
of the faces the Jersey volunteers will miss....
only operated once a week as the nurse had a number of clinics to run
as well as some outreach work. Our team nurse soon became much in demand
for all the villagers’ small injuries and a few long standing illnesses.
She dealt patiently with those she could help and advised others to seek
more qualified help where she felt it appropriate.
Also, during our stay, we were invited to two musical concerts one at
the Sohm village school and one at a school further out – their
music and enthusiastic attitude to dancing was quite an experience and
our donation to the school funds much appreciated.
each of our three Sundays in Sohm we hired a minibus and went sight seeing,
taking in the markets in the local Towns, the river and the nearby coast,
ending each day at a Hotel with a restaurant, pool and bar (not necessarily
in that order!).
For the last
three days of our stay in Gambia we took our leave of Sohm and moved to
a Hotel on the coast. Some of the team popped back to Sohm to say a final
farewell to friends they had made.
We all visited
local craft markets, walked on the beach, lazed around the pool and took
advantage of the superb seafood restaurants that abound in the coastal
regions. Where else can you get 10 large Gambas for £4 and if you
haven’t tried grilled Barracuda you have missed out on the best
All too soon
it was time to say goodbye to Gambia and all the friends we had made there
and climb aboard the plane to Gatwick. A slight compensation was the full
English breakfast served at the Hotel the next morning, the first time
in a month that the menu wasn’t cornflakes and bananas!
was looking forward to seeing friends and relatives again but already
missing new friends made on the trip. The temperature back at home was
a shock to the system to say the least.
We all will
have their own memories and views of the trip but everybody is proud of
what we achieved and enjoyed an experience that will stay with them forever.
I think that same comment is equally true for the Gambians of Sohm Village.
to each other
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